Don Quixote, "The Impossible Dream," and Brian Stokes Mitchell

The musical Man of La Mancha is based upon the novel Don Quixote. Here is the synopsis from the back cover of Dover's edition of the novel, which was written by Miguel de Cervantes* (1547-1616):

"Hailed by Dostoyevsky (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fyodor_Dostoevsky) as 'the final and greatest utterance of the human mind,' Don Quixote constitutes a founding work of modern Western literature. Cervantes' masterpiece has been translated into more than sixty languages, and the novel's fantasy-driven 'knight,' Don Quixote, and his loyal squire, Sancho Panza, rank among fiction's most recognized characters. Their adventures have been interpreted for film, opera, and ballet, and they head a cast of characters that comprises a diverse array of beliefs and perspectives, reflecting the historical realities of seventeenth-century Spain.

"Within its absorbing re-creation of the world during Cervantes' time, this parody of chivalric romances and epic of heroic idealism forms a strikingly contemporary narrative. The author is often credited with inventing the concept of the novel, addressing himself to the readers rather than the characters or the action. This edition of his landmark work presents the acclaimed 1755 Tobias Smollett translation."

1755-1977: A mere 222 years after this translation of Don Quixote was released, I saw Man of La Mancha on Broadway. Its show-stopping song, here sung by the inimitable Brian Stokes Mitchell, still gives me goosebumps.

Enjoy and sing along!

"The Impossible Dream"
Music by Mitch Leigh
Lyrics by Joe Darion

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far
To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into hell
For a heavenly cause

And I know
If I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart
Will lie peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far
To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into hell
For a heavenly cause

And I know
If I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart
Will lie peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

 

The book has been translated into 140 languages.

*Cervantes' contemporary was William Shakespeare, 1564-1616, who wrote, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.” —Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene II.
(In other words: “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”)

 

 

 

About “Sparks” by Margie Blumberg

Our weekly posts are about those happy sparks of inspiration that we can all enjoy, such as a song in a movie that was based on a book. Children’s books and lyrics from musicals are what inspired me to write. I hope they’ll inspire you, too! We’ll hear the latest news from our authors and illustrators, who will share the things that help them learn, grow, and create. We hope you enjoy these little sparks, and if you do, please share them!

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